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Pulm Circ. 2014 Sep;4(3):441-51. doi: 10.1086/677357.

The heterogeneity of clinical practice patterns among an international cohort of pulmonary arterial hypertension experts.

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Division of Cardiology, University Hospital, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.
School of Pharmacy, University of Kent, Kent, United Kingdom.
Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; and Department of Cardiology, Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


The extent to which pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) experts share common practice patterns that are in alignment with published expert consensus recommendations is unknown. Our objective was to characterize the clinical management strategies used by an international cohort of self-identified PAH experts. A 32-item questionnaire composed mainly of rank order or Likert scale questions was distributed via the Internet (August 5, 2013, through January 20, 2014) to four international pulmonary vascular disease organizations. The survey respondents (N = 105) were field experts reporting 11.6 ± 8.7 years of PAH experience. Likert scale responses (1 = disagree, 7 = agree) were 3.0-5.0, indicating a disparity in opinions, for 78% of questions. Respondent (dis)agreement scores were 4.4 ± 2.2 for use of expert recommendations to determine catheterization timing in PAH. For PAH patients without cardiogenic shock or known vasoreactivity status, the most and least preferred first-line therapies (1 = most preferred, 5 = least preferred) were phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE-Vi) and subcutaneous prostacyclin analogues, respectively (1.4 ± 0.8 vs. 4.0 ± 1.1; P < 0.05). Compared with US-practicing clinicians (N = 46), non-US-practicing clinicians (N = 57) favored collaboration between cardiology and pulmonary medicine for clinical decision making (1 = disagree, 7 = agree; 3.1 ± 2.2 vs. 4.8 ± 2.2; P < 0.0001) and PDE-Vi (6.5% vs. 22.4%) as first-line therapy for PAH patients with cardiogenic shock but were less likely to perform vasoreactivity testing in patients with lung disease-induced pulmonary hypertension (4.3 ± 2.1 vs. 2.2 ± 1.6; P < 0.0001). In conclusion, practice patterns among PAH experts diverge from consensus recommendations and differ by practice location, suggesting that opportunity may exist to improve care quality for this highly morbid cardiopulmonary disease.


clinical care; pulmonary arterial hypertension; right ventricle; survey

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